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Analogue vs ISDN vs VoIP: what is the best business telephone system?

The choice of telephone systems available to modern day business owners is as confusing as it is varied. Should you invest in ISDN instead of PSTN and what’s the difference anyway? Or would you be better off switching to VoIP and what exactly is that when it’s at home? Lake Technologies weighs up the merits of analogue vs ISDN vs VoIP to gauge which is the best business telephone system.


We love a good acronym in the telecommunications industry! Allow us to translate.

The public switched telephone network (PSTN), or analogue network, is the traditional and most common method of telephony that uses a single line for any conversation at a time on one dedicated phone number. This ageing technology, which employees circuit-switched copper phone lines to carry voice calls, is due to be phased out by BT Openreach in 2025. 

The beauty of the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is that it allows users to expand the capabilities of their regular PSTN line to include speech and data. ISDN gives users access to multiple digital channels, with the option to add more if the need arises and delivers a far better quality connection than analogue. However, because ISDN relies on traditional landlines, it too is on borrowed time.

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for short, is the next generation of telephony technology. VoIP allows you to make phone calls over the internet, rather than through a regular landline or mobile network. A VoIP system converts your analogue voice signals into digital signals and then sends them as data over your broadband line. BT has invested heavily in this technology, which is set to take over once PSTN has been switched off. 

What is the best business telephone system?

We could spend time weighing up the various advantages and disadvantages of analogue PSTN and ISDN phone systems but, given their limited shelf life, it seems a futile exercise. Their relative merits are greatly overshadowed by VoIP’s many plus points. 

Here are three of the main benefits of switching to VoIP:

1. Cost-effective

Perhaps the biggest draws for VoIP, and unquestionably one of the main reasons for the PSTN shut off, is its excellent value for money. VoIP phone systems are more cost-effective on several fronts. By switching to VoIP, you can enjoy cheaper line rental, significantly cheaper call costs, and capital expenditure savings due to the sheer lack of hardware required. All you need to get up and running are some IP handsets, a broadband connection and either a SIP trunk or a hosted VoIP service. 

2. Flexible and scalable

SIP trunks offer unlimited scalability, so you can quickly and easily add or remove lines as your team grows and your needs change. Because you are not tied to a local exchange, if you move premises you can also take your existing phone numbers with you without having to pay the usual extra fees associated with a change of location on an analogue or ISDN line. That added freedom also lets you set up geographical local numbers anywhere in the country, regardless of where your physical offices are actually located.  

3. Quick and convenient

One of the great advantages of VoIP is that an IP phone is incredibly easy to set up. You can be ready to go in a fraction of the time it would normally take with an analogue or ISDN line installation. If you are using a cloud-based hosted VoIP service, should a fault occur your provider can quickly and conveniently reroute your calls. Or, if you’re using a SIP trunk and your internet goes down, you can take your VoIP service mobile and work remotely as long as you have access to a broadband connection.

Contact Lake Technologies today

Lake Technologies offers full turnkey solutions for business phones and networks. From business phone systems, broadband, line rental, low cost calls, mobile and VoIP – we always deliver the best service. To find out more about our telephone systems and VoIP solutions, or to discuss your requirements in more detail, contact us today to arrange a free consultation.

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